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Pre-treatment of Antibiotic Wastewater Using an Anaerobic Reactor

Author Affiliations

  • 1 UTM Razak School of Engineering and Advanced Technology, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (International Campus), Jalan Semarak, 54100, Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA
  • 2 Environmental Engineering Group, School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK

Res.J.chem.sci., Volume 1, Issue (6), Pages 59-63, September,18 (2011)

Abstract

Effluents from manufacturing operations in the pharmaceutical industry, such as antibiotic formulation, usually contain recalcitrant compounds. An approach towards appropriate technology for the treatment of pharmaceutical wastewaters has become imperative due to strict water quality legislation for environmental protection. Typically, pharmaceutical wastewater is characterized by high chemical oxygen demand (COD) concentration and some pharmaceutical wastewaters can have COD as high as 80,000 mg.L-1. Due to high organic content, anaerobic technology is a promising alternative for pharmaceutical wastewater treatment. Results from literature on the anaerobic treatment of antibiotic wastewaters demonstrate that anaerobic treatment is not commonly used as the means for treating pharmaceutical wastewaters containing antibiotics. Consequently, in the present study, an Up-Flow Anaerobic Packed Bed reactor was employed to treat pharmaceutical wastewater containing antibiotics. The effect of organic loading rate (OLR) was assessed by adjusting feed substrate concentration and hydraulic retention time (HRT). The reactor performance was characterized in terms of COD removal, volatile fatty acid (VFA), gas production, methane yield and pH. Results from the study showed a COD reduction of 60 70% at an OLR of 1.5 4.6 kg COD.m-3.d-1, suggesting the biomass had acclimated to the antibiotics. However, when the OLR was increased theCOD removal efficiency decreased gradually until only around 50% soluble COD removal was observed at an OLR of 5.6 kg COD.m-3.d-1, indicating as OLR was increased, the increasing load of antibiotics may have affected the methanogens.

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